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Fitting A Modern Tap Conversion Kit

May 5, 2008
The first thing to do is to turn off the supply of water to the tap.

This may simply involve turning off a stop valve somewhere in the pipe leading to the tap - or it may be easier to turn off the whole system at the mains. But most household plumbing systems are more complicated than that and you will probably have to do some investigation with a torch.

If you are converting a hot water tap look for a stop valve between your tap and the hot water cylinder. A cold water tap should have a stop valve somewhere between it and the storage tank in the roof. If you can't find any stop valves you will have to turn off at the mains and drain the tank or cylinder supplying the tap. If you are draining a cylinder remember to turn off any heating element - boiler or immersion heater - for the duration of the job. When you are satisfied that no more water can come from the open tap, give it an extra twist anticlockwise to make sure it is fully open.

If you are very unlucky it may be that there is no stop valve at all inside the house. In this case the supply can be turned off at the water authority stop valve which is usually situated under a metal cover flap somewhere between the house and the road and operated with a key. You may have to ask the authority to do this for you; in some areas you can do it your-self with a piece of wood cut to a V-shaped notch at one end.

With the water turned off, unscrew the bell shaped outer casing of the tap body using an adjustable spanner. The cover should have a thin octagonal or hexagonal rim at its bottom for this purpose. This may need considerable effort to shift if it has corroded in place.

Slide the freed casing up the spindle of the handle to expose the hexagonal nut around the base of the spindle. You shouldn't need to remove the handle to do this. Adjust the spanner to fit the nut and unscrew it to remove the mechanical part (the gland body) from the tap. Once again, this may not be easy to do (see Basics). Pull the spindle to lift away the loosened gland body.

Take this opportunity to clean the base and spout of the tap thoroughly. On chromium plate use a proper chrome cleaner and a gentle action.

Screw in the replacement gland until it is firm, making sure you include any seals or washers. Follow the maker's instructions about final tightness. If the body is plastic - as many are - be careful not to deform it with the spanner.

The new head may be a press fit on the gland body or it may be held with a screw concealed under a pressfit cover. Rotate it until the internal splines on the head line up with the grooves in the top of the spindle. Check that any symbols on the head are the right way round when the tap is closed and - elementary but easy to forget - that the Hot and Cold heads are on the appropriate sides. Turn the water on again and check that the taps work properly. Leave them to run for a while to allow any air bubbles to work their way out of the pipes.
About the Author
Plumbing is James Holdinski's Business He's an expert in CAT Workwear, Blackpool Hotels and Seasonal Caravan Storage
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